Reconsecration

Storia-riconsacrazione basilica

 

On October 24, 1964, Pope Paul VI went up to Montecassino to reconsecrate the Basilica and proclaim Saint Benedict patron saint of all Europe. On that occasion Abbot Rea expressed his "gratitude for all the great reconstruction work that had made Montecassino the symbol of the work done by the Italian people for the reconstruction itself of the Country".

"Cardinals!
Reverenced Archbishops and Bishops!
Reverend Abbot of this celebrated monastery!
Illustrious Gentlemen of civil and military authorities!
And Priests, Monks and Clerics here present!
Students who are guests in this house!
All of the Faithful and Pilgrims here for this event!

How can we greet you, if not with the usual Christian devotion which here seems to have its truest and most familiar expression: «Pax hic domui, et omnibus habitantibus in ea!»: Peace to this house and to all of those who live here?

Here we find peace, as an envious treasure in its safest casement: here we bring peace, as a precious gift from Our apostolic ministry, who as the distributor of the divine mysteries offers with loving extravagance the effluence of Life, which is the first source of peace and joy. Here we celebrate peace as a resurrected light, after whirlwinds of war had blown out the holy and benevolent flame. [...]
But among the many impressions that this house of peace now evokes in our souls, one seems to dominate the others; and it is the generating virtue of peace. Here [...] peace appears equally real and alive, here it appears active and fertile to us. Here its capability, extremely interesting, to reconstruct, to be reborn, to regenerate is revealed.

These walls speak. It is peace that made them revive. It still seems incredible that the war acted against this Abbey, incomparable monument of religion, culture, art, civility, one of the proudest and blindest gesture of its fury, so we can't believe it is true when today we see this magnificent building revived, almost wanting to pretend that nothing happened, that its destruction was a dream and we can forget the tragedy that had made a pile of ruins. Brothers, let us cry with emotion and gratitude [...] we cannot not deplore that civil men had the boldness to use Saint Benedict's grave as a target of atrocious violence. And we cannot contain our joy seeing today that the ruins have disappeared, that the holy walls of this Church have arisen, that the austere building of the ancient monastery has a new image. God bless the Lord!

[...] We would like to express our compliments to those who merit in this huge recontruction. Our thoughts go to the Abbot of this Monastery, to his collaborators, to the benefactors, to the technicians, to the labourers and workmen. A special acknowledgement goes to the Italian Authorities, who took care of means and implementation when needed, so that peace would triumph over war. In this way, Montecassino has become the trophy of all the hard work done by the Italian people for the reconstruction of this beloved town, torn to pieces from one end to the other, and immediately revived in a more beautiful and modern way by divine assistence and the virtue of its inhabitants.

So let's celebrate peace. Here we want, almost symbolically, to mark the end of the war; God willing: of all the wars! Here let's convert «the swords in coulters and the lances in scythes» (Is. 2, 4); the immense energy, that is, which was used by the arms to kill and to destroy, devolves to vitalize and to build; furthermore, here let's renew brotherhood in mankind through forgiveness, here let's abdicate the mentality in which hate, pride and envy prepare for war, and replace it with the resolution and with the hope of harmony and collaboration; here let's make way for Christian peace, freedom and love. May the torch of brotherhood always have a holy and glowing flame".